Curriculum and Instruction » Gifted and Talented Program

Gifted and Talented Program



What is Giftedness?


The National Association for Gifted Children defines giftedness as students with gifts and talents perform - or have the capability to perform - at higher levels compared to others of the same age, experience, and environment in one or more domains. They require modification(s) to their educational experience(s) to learn and realize their potential.

A student with gifts and talents:

  • Come from all racial, ethnic, and cultural populations, as well as all economic strata.
  • Require sufficient access to appropriate learning opportunities to realize their potential.
  • Can have learning and processing disorders that require specialized intervention and accommodation.
  • Need support and guidance to develop socially and emotionally as well as in their areas of talent.
  • Require varied services based on their changing needs.


Gifted students come from all racial, ethnic, and cultural populations, as well as all economic strata Although the percentage of students served in gifted education programs does not currently reflect the general student population, gifted and talented youth exist in all cultural and economic groups. One contributor to this underrepresentation has been an assumption that there are few students to identify in these groups, an assumption often fueled by a lack of awareness on the part of many educators and policymakers. Consequently, many school systems use identification methods that contribute to disproportionality when procedures, such as universal screening, have been found to increase the number of low-income and minority students identified as gifted by 180%. When appropriate identification protocols are employed along with programming models that cultivate potential, more students from historically underrepresented groups can be identified, resulting in a more equitable process and gifted enrollments more reflective of the national student population. Gifted students require sufficient access to appropriate learning opportunities to realize their potential Determining a student’s potential requires consideration of the individual’s contexts and previous opportunities to learn, not just the student’s age or grade-level performance. Adverse developmental effects have been noted for gifted students who do not have opportunities for early education or to participate in challenging programs. This is particularly true for those from poverty who underperform when compared to their gifted peers from higher socioeconomic backgrounds and are at greater risk for dropping out of high achieving groups during the elementary and secondary school years. Conversely, well-designed programs that challenge and support gifted students, including those from underserved populations, are associated with increased success.


Continuum of Services 


The gifted and talented programs in Jersey City Public Schools are needs-based services designed for those students who, when compared to their chronological peers, possess or demonstrate exceptionally high levels of ability in one or more content areas. The programs provide additional and appropriate educational challenges and opportunities to meet the needs of these students. The curricula for the various G&T programs are created by the G&T Supervisor, teachers, and are peer-reviewed by members of the county consortium, designed to provide appropriate challenge to intellectually and academically advanced learners, and approved by the Board of Education. The range of services offered by the Jersey City Public School includes magnet programs, pull-out programs,  specialized content courses, advanced classes, varied grouping strategies, acceleration, and differentiation of curriculum and instruction in the classroom.


School Wide Enrichment Model


The Jersey City Public School district embraces our students'  diverse cultures and backgrounds.  Therefore, the goal of the SEM is to include all students and to provide opportunities for students to explore their individual intellectual, artistic, and creative abilities both inside the classroom and in the real world. Our programs draw upon research and curriculum development by eminent experts in the field of education.  Engineering, Biodiversity, and Physics are just a few of the topics included in our comprehensive gifted and talented curriculum. 



 In the Jersey City Public Schools, we strongly believe that it is vital that our students experience a diverse and engaging learning experience.  Furthermore, we are committed to meeting the socioemotional needs of students. For all of these reasons, we provide students with educational alternatives that inform, challenge and develop their academic abilities.  At the same time, our district's gifted and talented program emphasizes the development of self-directed learners who continuously learn to analyze, investigate, and evaluate concepts and information.


The Schoolwide Enrichment Model is based on the research of Dr. Joseph Renzulli which promotes the belief that all scholars are gifted. Some of the activities include Chorus, Band, Drama Club, Yearbook, Dance, and Enrichment Mini Units through our Joint Activities Program.  The SEM also includes scheduled time in environmental activities and many guest speakers at different grade levels on a variety of topics which include, Character Education, Environmental Specialists, Amistad Commission, and Holocaust Education.  


 The Jersey City Public School District is also a member of the Hudson County Gifted and Talented Consortium for Student Enrichment and participates in several events, including Meadowlands Environmental Center Partnership. The Schoolwide Enrichment Program also provides clubs, field trips, classroom visits from guest presenters, and a variety of academic contests, in an effort to initiate and cultivate student excitement in their academic development.


HOPE Program


Jersey City Public Schools’ HOPE initiative mission seeks to create a challenging learning environment that encourages high expectations for success through the development of age-appropriate, rigorous instruction that allows for individual differences and diverse learning styles. HOPE classes promote a safe, orderly, caring, and supportive environment; each student's self-esteem is fostered by positive relationships with students and staff. HOPE teachers are committed to challenging all students to use their minds well, providing them with curriculum, rigorous instruction, teacher-made and district common formative assessment, support, and the time they need to meet rigorous academic standards set forth by the state department of Education. We strive to ensure our parents, teachers, and community members actively involved in our students' learning.


The HOPE Program - Grades three through eight



 The HOPE Initiative was created to provide students in grades three through eight an opportunity to participate in an accelerated and enriched curriculum. HOPE provides the students with the development of critical and creative thinking and intrinsic motivation that encourages students to plan and create original products. 


Beginning in the third grade and continuing through seventh-grade students are given the opportunity to be selected to enter a HOPE class through a selection process that involves a ranking system.


HOPE is designed to meet the needs of early adolescents by providing a rigorous instructional research-based program taught by teams of teachers who focus on students’ academic, social and emotional needs in a supportive school atmosphere. 



The curriculum in HOPE classes is the same as taught in all district classes but implemented using a faster pace, is innovative, comprehensive, interdisciplinary, and project-based instructional approach.


HOPE Selection Process



Each year, at the close of the third marking period (approximately mid-April), teachers will use the Scoring Guide and Qualification Form spreadsheets to enter the names and scores of all students and those who accumulate enough points will be a candidate for a HOPE class the following school year.Parents, teachers and administrators then recommend that a particular child be assessed for HOPE providing he or she is a reasonable candidate. No student will be admitted to a HOPE Class however, unless he or she has scored at or above the cut-off score on the Qualification Form spreadsheet.


Reasonable Candidates

As stated earlier, the mission of HOPE is to provide the most successful, most highly motivated students with an environment that will challenge and stimulate them at their level.  For this reason, it is recommended that students only be considered for HOPE if they are reasonable candidates. 


 A reasonable candidate is any student who achieves high grades and / or demonstrates successful study skills and work habits including assignment completion, self-management, punctuality and good attendance. 

It is important, however, that ALL STUDENTS receive fair consideration.  For example, students who are in Special Education or ESL programs should not be excluded.  If a student struggles academically, but demonstrates high capabilities in one subject, then that student should participate in a HOPE Class for that subject.



HOPE Bilingual


The HOPE initiative will offer a dynamic and flexible way of approaching classroom instruction that will provide better learning opportunities for students who display exceptional academic results and high levels of motivation, organization, and focus.

 Like all children, students with exceptional abilities who are very successful in school require constant exposure to new learning experiences so that they can develop their skills and habits that allow them to face the challenges presented by new material. Often these highly capable and highly motivated students quickly master many of the concepts they should learn during regular instruction. The HOPE program for bilingual instruction will unite all these highly capable and motivated students who are eager to make the most of every learning opportunity.



 The curriculum in HOPE Bilingual classes is the same as taught in all district classes but implemented using a faster pace, is innovative, comprehensive, interdisciplinary, and project-based instructional approach.


The Acceleration and Enrichment Program


Program Overview - Middle School

 The Acceleration and Enrichment Program (AEP), founded in 1980-81, is a district magnet program designed to meet the needs of students who desire participation in an accelerated and enriched academic program. Once accepted, these students enroll in a three-year middle school curriculum. Eighth-grade graduates will have successfully completed ninth-grade honors courses and can receive advanced placement in high school. 


Fifth and sixth-grade students are given the opportunity to apply for AEP from the public, private and charter schools throughout Jersey City. Students are instructed in an interdisciplinary, multicultural, and project-based environment. 


AEP is designed to meet the needs of early adolescents by providing an instructional program taught by teams of teachers who focus on students’ academic, social, and emotional needs in a supportive school atmosphere. 


 AEP is a fast-paced, innovative, comprehensive, interdisciplinary, academic three-year program for sixth, seventh, and eighth-graders. The AEP curriculum provides intense enrichment and acceleration in all content areas. Students entering the sixth grade are prepared for participation in comprehensive, accelerated, and advanced placement courses for high school at the eighth-grade level. 

Having successfully completed prerequisite courses of study, students are provided the opportunity for advanced placement into tenth-grade honors courses as ninth graders, having successfully graduated from grade eight AEP.


AEP Application and Admission Exam Process


Application Process for The Acceleration and Enrichment Program

 Annually, the district approves the  applications the AEP Applications to be disseminated by the PMP Supervisor for entrance into the Acceleration and Enrichment Program.


  • An informational session is conducted for district school counselors that reviews criteria and an explanation of the application process.
  •  The application packets are sent to all Jersey City schools, including non-public, private, and charter. 
  • The AEP Application is distributed to current eligible fifth and sixth-grade students who reside in Jersey City. 
  • Eligible student candidates submitting a completed application will be scheduled to take an AEP
  • Admissions Test;  Otis-Lennon School Ability Test (OLSAT). 
  • The application process includes a review of the completed application, including the Admissions test by a committee comprised of district instructional staff and administrators according to the program criteria.
  • The PMP Supervisor maintains rank-ordered placement/waiting lists at the district level for theAcceleration and Enrichment Program.
  • Letters are sent to the home notifying parents of their child’s status. 
  • Parent/Student Orientation is scheduled at both AEP sites in June where parents are able to transfer their child into the assigned AEP site.


Gifted and Talented Appeals Process


The Jersey City Public Schools will help answer questions and/or resolve concerns regarding Gifted and Talented Services. The selection process as outlined by the New Jersey Department of Education stipulates that the Jersey City Board of Education utilizes multiple measures that include set criteria when identifying students to attend the various programs; The Acceleration and Enrichment Program, The HOPE Program, and HOPE Bilingual Program.Parents and/or Guardians can file an appeal if they do not feel that the results of the selection process and/or placement decision do not reflect the child's capability.  


AEP Appeals can only be filed when a student who applied has not been accepted. The deadline to file an Appeal is on or before June of the school year that the student applies to the AEP Program.


HOPE Program and HOPE Bilingual Program Appeals can only be filed when a student has not been accepted. The deadline to file an Appeal is on or before June of the school year that the student has not been accepted.


The Appeals Process Committee consists of senior staff, district/school administrators, and teachers who will review the initial placement decision's information. The committee's goal is to be child-centered without changing the integrity of the identification process or program. The committee will take an in-depth look at the student, examine the data that has already been provided before a final decision is made. 


Parents and/or guardians will be notified of the committee's decision by mail

 This appeal process will commence for acceptance for September 2021.

 Please use the link below to access the Gifted and Talented Appeals Process Form